Covid-19 Updates

Your vessel, our responsibility

Covid-19 Updates

We continue to receive and follow the latest best practices from the WHO and health professionals on containment of the virus in order to adopt the best possible actions. Supporting your vessel and crew is our priority. The Coronavirus is first and foremost a humanitarian challenge and, as such, the protection of the health and wellbeing of all our customers and colleagues is V.Group’s highest priority. Under our value of care, we will ensure all customers are kept up to date on any new developments.

With safety at the forefront of our activities, we feel it is important to share with V.Group colleagues and customers regular information on how to best operate during the coronavirus outbreak. We continue to receive and follow the latest best practices from the WHO and health professionals on containment of the virus in order to adopt the best possible actions. Supporting business continuity ashore, vessels, crew and associated stakeholders is our priority. Rest assured that we are taking all the required steps to ensure continued safe operations of our people and vessels under management.” Matt Dunlop, Head of HSEQ.

Important notice

  • Latest advice from the World Health Organization (WHO) can be found here.
  • Download all latest IMO circular letters informing of the measures and arrangement of flag States in dealing with inspections, certificates, crew change etc. on this link here.
  • FAQs about Covid-19 can be found here.

Notice to Seafarers

Updates for our Crew Colleagues and their families will be managed through the V.Crew Support Centre website available at the following link. This will be updated on a regular basis.

Supply Chain & Logistics 

For all updates on suppliers and freight, click here.


Updates on all travel restrictions will be published regularly on GMT’s news section, available here.



Coronavirus Timeline

6 April 2020 | Latest Updates

INTERTANKO outbreak Management Plan

INTERTANKO Outbreak Management Plan outlines the plans and procedures to be put in place to prepare a ship for shore personnel to come on board and to protect seafarers from the dangers posed by the new Coronavirus disease (Covid-19). This includes potential exposure from shore personnel and the actions to take in the event of a suspected case on board. The Outbreak Management Plan can be downloaded here.

This guidance should be read in conjunction with the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS)-published Coronavirus (Covid-19) Guidance for Ship Operators for the Protection of the Health of Seafarers. Circular Letter No.4204/Add.4 (5 March 2020) Guidance for ship operators for the protection of the health of seafarers.

OCIMF issues best practice precautions for carrying out the SSSCL during the Covid-19 pandemic

In an effort to minimise exposure to the Covid-19 infections during ship-shore interfaces, OCIMF has issued ‘Best practice precautions for carrying out the pre-transfer conference during the COVID 19 Pandemic’. The Best practice can be accessed here.

2 April 2020 | Latest Updates

Keep Things In Perspective – maritime training course available through Marlins

In this challenging period where we are surrounded by negative news and thoughts, now might seem like an unusual time to talk about being positive. But it is now, more than ever, when we need to be optimistic and proactively look at ways of creating a positive attitude.

To assist the global seafaring community face these challenges and understand how keeping things in perspective helps you to be more positive and resilient, Marlins is offering free access to the following module from our resilience programme – Keep things in Perspective. This module demonstrates how your internal dialogue influences your decision making in challenging situations and suggests techniques you can use to steer your inner dialogue in a positive and safe direction.

If you would like to receive free access to the Keep things in Perspective course, please email us at using subject header – Keep things in Perspective Offer. Please share this information with your seafaring network so that as many people as possible can benefit from the course. The deadline for submissions is 31st May 2020. Visit the Marlins website for more information.

1 April 2020 | Latest Updates

InterManager – Establishment of an ICS/ITF task force to address the need to facilitate crew changes

In their capacity as social partners, ICS and ITF are currently preparing to send a joint letter to the IMO Secretary-General which will make the following points:

  • For humanitarian reasons – and the need to comply with international safety and employment regulations – crew changes cannot be postponed indefinitely should measures implemented by governments in response to COV-19 continue.
  • ICS and ITF therefore intend to propose, with the support of the UN agencies and Member States concerned – the designation of a limited number (perhaps 12 to 15 worldwide) of special crew change ports and airports from where large numbers of crew changes can be effected, notwithstanding any other national entry restrictions that might continue to apply.
  • ICS and ITF will suggest that as well as being ports located close to major shipping routes, to which it will be practicable for ships to divert for the purpose of crew changes, these designated ports also will need to have access to a hub airport, ideally served by a major global airline with connections to a large range of destinations in or close to the principal seafarer countries of residence (in particular including air routes to China, India, Philippines, EU, and nations in eastern Europe).

As a first step, ICS and ITF (as social partners) intend to seek the immediate support for this concept from IMO, which will also be requested to liaise with and seek the support of the International Civil Aviation Agency (IACO). IMO and ICAO would then be asked to contact their Member States, requesting them to start discussions with national stakeholders about adjustments to any existing general restrictions on flights, disembarkation from ships in port, and relevant quarantine, screening and health protocols, taking account of the recommendations within IMO Circular Letter 4204/Add6.

31 March 2020 | Latest Updates

V.Group policy – Covid-19 testing

Although V.Group have made a strategic decision to postpone crew changes for at least the next four weeks, due to global travel restrictions and to keep our ships in a ‘safe and contained environment’, there will be reasons to place new crew onboard due to illness, injury, or compliance with statutory seafarer document expiry.

The Group Executive team have therefore agreed to pre-mobilisation testing –

  • Crewmembers will be tested for Covid-19 under medical conditions at the Crewing centre preferred clinics.
  • The testing will be utilising the rapid test kit process which requires taking a sample of blood for analysis which can take around 6 hours for test results to be made available. The Crewing teams are presently ordering such kits through Oceanic Catering medical teams which will take some time for dispatch and be made available within the clinics.
  • The Covid Crew Command Centre team will update when we are in a position to offer this proactive service.

30 March 2020 | Latest Updates

Open letter to decision makers to help the shipping industry

Graham Westgarth, V.Group CEO, wrote an open letter, calling on decision makers worldwide to help the shipping industry by designating seafarers as ‘key personnel’ and, in doing so, provide them with adequate safeguards, including rights of embarkation and disembarkation. Failure to recognise them as key workers will have catastrophic global consequence, the shipping industry being responsible to transport 92% of the world’s goods. Full letter available here.

Latest Official IMO Circular from the IMO Secretary-General to member states

Preliminary list of recommendations for Governments and relevant national authorities on the facilitation of maritime trade during the Covid-19 pandemic. Latest official IMO Circular from the IMO Secretary-General to member states distributing the recommendations jointly developed between BIMCO, CLIA, FONASBA, IACS, IAPH, IMCA, IMEC, INTERCARGO, INTERFERRY, INTERMANAGER, INTERTANKO, IPTA, ITF, P&I Clubs and WSC (plus ASA and ECSA) can be found here.

Vetting Covid-19 – reactions from Oil Major stakeholders

Read the latest OCIMF update on SIRE/OVID reportsWhile we all work through this unprecedented situation it is important to maintain delivery of essential goods and services on a global basis. OCIMF members, SIRE/OVID report users, vessel operators and inspectors are finding it very difficult to continue normal inspection regimes due to restrictions in travel, access through terminals, social distancing and health and safety considerations to varying degrees depending on location. The situation is fluid and will continue to change country by country for some time.

27 March 2020 | Latest Update

Graham Westgarth, V.Group Chief Executive Officer, has highlighted the importance of industry collaboration in a video message launched in response to the coronavirus outbreak. In the video, the first in a series, Westgarth outlines the focus of V.Group during this unprecedented time for the shipping industry, stressing that the priority remains the safety and wellbeing of the team. Graham stressed that the industry must work together, engaging with legislative bodies and industry bodies to reduce restrictions for shipping personnel. “We’re privileged to be in an industry that’s resilient and populated with extremely committed people and I’m sure we’ll get through this and come out of the other end stronger than we were previously.” Watch the full video here. 

Communication from the European Commission, dated from 23.03 on the implementation of the Green Lanes under the Guidelines for border management measures to protect health and ensure the availability of goods and essential services. The Guidelines for border management measures to protect health and ensure the availability of goods and essential services adopted by the European Commission on 16 March 2020, stress the principle that all EU internal borders should stay open to freight and that the supply chains for essential products must be guaranteed. Full letter available here.

HSEQ posters – Safety measures for Covid-19

We appreciate that the global pandemic of Covid-19 has created a significant amount of concern and stress for our colleagues on board. Our latest posters will help in identifying the safety measures to follow.


26 March 2020 | Latest Updates

Vetting Covid-19 – reactions from Oil Major stakeholders

Latest reactions from Oil Majors stakeholders, including latest communication from INTERTANKO, V.Ships, and Dow Vetting Policy adjustments. Read the latest update here.

IMO Circular Letters – Panama, Georgia, Republic of Poland and Ukraine.

IMO Circular Letter No.4230 dated 24 Mar 2020, informing of flexible arrangement of Panama on:

  • Crew change
  • Extension of Seafarers employment Agreement
  • Extension of Seafarers Certificates including Certificates of Endorsement

IMO Circular Letter No.4232 dated 24 Mar 2020, informing of similar measures implemented by:

  • Georgia;
  • The Republic of Poland; and
  • Ukraine

25 March 2020 | Latest Updates

UK Ministerial letter to ILO, IMO and WHO

Letter by the UK Shipping Minister to ask of the International Maritime Organization, the International Labour Organization and the World Health Organization for clear joint international guidance and direction to port States, flag States and coastal States supporting seafarers and ship operators. Link here

Lockdown in India to halt the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus

Only essential services (hospitals, medical stores, grocery & vegetable shops) are asked to function. The lockdown suspends all activities/movements other than essential services, and district borders are sealed, difficulty can be anticipated in the movement of pilots, labor, personnel, vehicles, trucking, cargo evacuation, port agents, CHA & other stake holders involved in vessel/cargo operations. Manpower is also drastically reduced in most locations. the latest guidelines issued by the D.G Shipping instructed all ports to follow 14 days mandatory quarantine for vessels arriving from restricted countries/ports.

24 March 2020 | Latest Updates

Inspectors Global Footprint

For ship owners and managers who are unable to inspect their vessels, SeaTec can utilise its global footprint to help customers meet their KPIs. These services will be available at a special price during the Coronavirus crisis, providing value for money in addition to speedy response. Find out more.

Vetting Covid-19 – reactions from Oil Major stakeholders

Latest reactions from Oil Majors stakeholders, including latest communication from Shell Time Charter and Phillips 66. Read the latest update here.

Joint letter by ECSA and ETF to the Council on urgent regulatory measures for the shipping industry

ECSA and ETF call upon the EU institutions to support the industry and its workforce with the challenges they are facing. Special measures and actions have to be taken with the greatest urgency to ensure that the shipping industry can play its role in supporting the EU economy to the fullest extent possible. Read the full letter.



23 March 2020 | Latest Updates

Free of charge Coronavirus training video

In the wake of the pandemic COVID-19, Seagull Maritime and Videotel have launched a new programme called:
“Coronavirus- How to Beat it.” Available free to the maritime industry, the programme outlines the common symptoms that seafarers need to be aware of and details the key precautions that individuals onboard can take to minimise the spread of this highly contagious virus. Link here.

Stock Management and Food Safety

Guidance has been circulated to our vessels concerning stock management and food safety on board relating to Covid-19. The guidance covers:

  • Suggestions for best use of stock on-board, including portion control, best use of fruit and vegetables and use of leftovers
  • Food safety and hygiene practices including temperature control and keeping food surfaces clean and sanitised at all times.

20 March 2020 | Latest Updates

Vetting Covid-19 – reactions from Oil Major stakeholders

Safety of our staff remains most important at all times, especially while our managed vessels calling terminals for loading /discharge operation. We took the initiative of discussing with various Oil Majors since their group meeting at Dubai early this year, whilst effectively liaising with INTERTANKO. After concerted efforts from members, OCIMF, Oil Majors have advised their temporary direction of vetting process going forward.

Basis the feedback we are following up as closely as possible through local agents, SIRE inspecting companies, Oil Majors, Owners and charterers as per below. Read the latest update here.


The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of Covid-19. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period. U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel.

IMO Circular information – Canada 

IMO Circular Letter No.4226 dated 20 Mar 2020, informing of flexible arrangement of Canada on: “Extending the Validity of Canadian Marine Personnel Certificates.” – link here.

19 March 2020 | Latest Updates

The shipping industry urgently needs special regulatory measures and actions to prevent a total collapse of seaborne trade to and from the EU. Read the joint high level letter from the European Community Shipowner’s Association (ECSA) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation here.

Joint open letter to United Nations agencies from the Global Maritime Transport Industry on facilitating crew changes to keep world trade moving throughout the Covid-19 crisis. As active members of leading industry organisations such as ICS, we drive topical agendas, including the current pressing issues of crew changes during the Covid-19 crisis and associated restrictions – which could impact global trade. Click here to read more.

18 March 2020 | Latest Updates

ITF green lights crew contract extensions

The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) will green light the extension of Seafarer Employment Agreements (SEAs) for up to one month in response to Covid-19 containment strategies. Read full article here.

Keep on top of training with elearning

Seafarers are at heart of everything we do. At Marlins, we aim to deliver elearning solutions to help you develop your skills and career. With elearning, it is possible to manage your personal development during times of uncertainty and keep on top of training pro-actively.

Our STCW Security elearning courses can be completed anywhere, provided your employer accepts a Liberia flag approved certificate.

We can also support you with distance-learning in many additional areas:
-Deck and Navigation
-Hotel Services
-Inspection and Maintenance
-Cargo Handling
-Environmental Matters
-Energy Fuel
-Emergency Response
-Crew Wellbeing
-Maritime English

Visit our website for more information on elearning for your personal development: or contact us at

17 March 2020 | Latest Updates

Covid-Crewing Command Centre

In response to the current coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, a Covid-Crewing Command Centre (CCCC) has been set up within Crew Management to ensure continuous crewing operations, safe manning of vessels, and maintain the safety of seafarers joining and returning from vessels. The team includes senior colleagues from key functions who will provide quick and decisive solutions, working together with HSEQ and Ship Management.

The core team will meet daily to review the global situation of our crewing offices and seafarers as well as review measures and decisions that need to be taken to provide you with the necessary support to your operations.

INTERTANKO Communication – Covid-19 Impact on the Tanker Industry 

INTERTANKO activities relating to Covid-19 Vetting Committee update – link here 

Travel and airlines restrictions around the world 

It is our hope that the following traveler updates keep you well informed as we navigate this difficult time together. Please visit this link.

16 March 2020 | Latest Updates

The World Health Organization recently declared the rapidly spreading Coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. In order to slow the transmission of the virus, many countries and regions have imposed strict quarantines and/or entry bans for travelers, with many more governments expected to follow soon.

V.Group Crew Management Update – Postponement of Crew Changes 

Please read the latest Circular Letter on all V.Group Ship Management and Crew Management vessels. This letter does not apply to Offshore or Leisure vessels. Read more information here.


  • Transportation: United Arab Emirates suspends all visas to foreigners starting March 17 to stem the spread of COVID-19. Further travel restrictions likely.
  • Entry/Exit: Singapore intensifies health screenings, self-quarantine measures for all passengers from March 17 due to COVID-19. Entry bans in effect.
  • Entry/Exit: Philippines maintaining restrictions for foreigners with recent travel to Iran, Italy as of March 16 due to COVID-19. Other measures apply.


13 March 2020 | Latest update

The following measures have been adopted in response of the Covid-19 outbreak

  • We have established a top level Covid-19 policy for all of V.Group to ensure the protection of our colleagues and our customers.
  • We have assembled a multi-discipline task force to manage the dynamic response required as the virus outbreak continues to spread globally.
  • We are keeping your vessels fully updated on best practices to take to ensure the crew’s wellbeing and continued operation of the vessel.
  • Where possible, we are avoiding all non-essential travel to affected areas, including inter-office travel and industry conferences.
  • We are limiting access to our offices. Business-critical visitors, such as customers or external auditors will be briefed in advance of our policies and precautions against COVID-19


The US are now at a Global Health Advisory Level 3 due to Covid-19. Please read further information on what this means for travelers and seafarers alike if traveling to the U.S. from the Schengen Area countries within the previous 14 days – link.

Frequently Asked Questions 

A practical guide to follow on what should be done if someone onboard gets unwell – click here.

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